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Old 10-07-2012, 08:02 PM   #1
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Backing It In - In the Dark!

I've really felt pretty good about backing my unit into camping spots since my first time out (a total disaster)!

This weekend, we went out to one of our favorite areas. It was dark when we arrived. I thought no problem. With my wife outside with a flashlight this should be a breeze.

I was wrong! My wife did everything correct. I thought I did everything correct. However, it was looking into a "black out". I must have backed all over the place. I was lucky that I did run not into a tree -- or the lake.

Note: This area of the campground had no lights at all.

Any suggestions for backing into a campsite at night!
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:10 PM   #2
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Have you tried the illumene sticks? I have some in my stuff, just in case. Lay them out where you need to stop, etc. to mark the spot. I do most of my backing without any help because DW is at work. I also find myself getting out of the tv myself and looking on how I need to make corrections. At home I have painted an orange L in the drive so I know where to put the left front corner of the tt. Hey, ex military, mind is always working on how to do things by myself. Been through Prattville a few times before the interstate was completed through Montgomery.
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:30 PM   #3
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We use two-way radio's..for daytime also..
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:37 PM   #4
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Mind is always working..just thought of another idea. If you are in an area where you have cellphone coverage and two of them, use them. Just select the speaker mode...we do have some radios but I don't often have them charged up. Something else I might need to do, just in case.
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:33 PM   #5
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When we work M-F/ 8 to 5 and go for a weekend getaway, we are getting to the campsite at dark and sometimes very dark(no moonlight). We have a battery powered lantern I put on the passenger side edge of the campsite and my wife has a walkie-talkie and a flashlight, telling me how far back I can go & how I'm lined up in the campsite. Sometimes I get lucky and nail it the first time, but generally have to straighten up a few times.
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:39 PM   #6
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On our first trip with our 35' TT we got to the campsite after dark and during a heavy thunderstorm. Got backed in and set up without issue which I attribute to rookie dumb luck. It was an initiation to be sure. We said then that we would laugh about it in the future... and we do!
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:56 PM   #7
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We are fortunate. On the toyhauler there are two spot lights mounted above the rear door. I just have to go inside and flip the switch and it is like having two head lights.
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:21 PM   #8
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many wire up backup lights that tie into the pigtail connector.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:36 AM   #9
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I know your pain on this one. I've only had to back in one time in the dark. And it was at 2am after a triple blow-out trip home. And it was in my narrow driveway on my narrow street. Normally a challenge anyway, the dark and other circumstances just made it worse. But I put all my faith in my wife and her directions, made many starts and stops, and even had to go around the block once to start all over. But I got it in, and vowed never to get into a situation where I have to back in in the dark again. Of course Murphy often trumps my wishes, but if it happens again, we'll just deal with it then. I am certainly not going to make a habit out of it.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:53 AM   #10
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Using a plug-in 12 volt spot light could help when you arrive.. to "look things over " first.. then a couple of those led battery powered camping lanterns placed as a guide to help.. should work...
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:02 AM   #11
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i went with a backup camera on the TV for hooking up solo, then went second camera on back of camper as a rear view, the camera is powered from the running lights, the RCA is run up to the 7 way plug
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:02 AM   #12
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Lots of good suggestions here. To which I would add:
Fire up a Coleman gas lantern when you first get there. The dual mantle ones can throw an incredible amount of light and should give you what you need if you position it properly.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:48 PM   #13
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Thanks for the suggestions!

I appreciate all the great suggestions to my original problem. Itís nice to know that I am not alone on this one!

I had thought of lining the way (airport style) with a bunch of cheap LED flashlights, or getting a couple of red tipped flashlights like they use on the aircraft carriers in the movie "Top Gun" (I don't think my wife would wear the neat helmet that the crew wore as it might mess up her hair).

Night parking will be more the norm during the next few months, as we plan to camp through the winter here in Alabama. So a good solution is needed if we intend to "dry camp" in less developed campgrounds.

The radio suggestion was good, and is on my short list because my wife and I could not hear each other due to the distances between us, and engine noise. Hand signals don't work well at night especially looking through a rear view mirror. I think radios will make the cuss words easier to figure out since I don't read lips well at night.

I am going to try and purchase and use one of those rechargeable spotlights (1,000,000 candlepower -- or is it 1 zillion). I figure if I we can light up the area, and my wife does not zap me with it and cause permanent blindness, then we ought to have a fighting chance.

A lantern of some sort may make it on the list as I need something to "run over" when I finally get close to parking it correctly.

Again, thanks!
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:32 AM   #14
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Have not had the experience of having to do this as yet. If it comes up, I would jump into the trailer and turn on the scare lights on both sides. Plus the truck has a light on the back of the cab that lights up when backing. Then just rely on the wife and a good flashlight. (Probably the weak link in the plan!)
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:14 AM   #15
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Rebel...I can tell you that the scare lights won't do too much, and the cab light will do nothing at all for you. In the end, the wife and a flashlight got me in, but I still had to get out a number of times to make sure I didn't veer too close to the edge of my driveway. Good thing there's little traffic on my road, especially at 2am! Yeah...just hope you can avoid it completely.

Sounds like you're in for some fun there David. You'll definitely have to keep us posted as you go through your adventures in parking!
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:15 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravelTracer View Post
We use two-way radio's..for daytime also..

we like and use those also
or
the wife can hold a flashlight
making a lit line from the back
right up to the drivers side
where she wishes for you to go
just follow the lit line
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:54 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountainmanbob View Post
we like and use those also

or
the wife can hold a flashlight
making a lit line from the back
right up to the drivers side
where she wishes for you to go
just follow the lit line

Mountainman

The "lit line" from the flashlight is a great idea...I'll have to keep that one in mind. The two-way radio's have been very helpful for us.
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Old 10-10-2012, 04:52 PM   #18
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2 way radios are great - my wife watches for anything I might get too close to. If you get out prior to backing up and look down the line your tires need to follow to end up where you should be, and then place 2 small flashlights on the ground (driver's side) 10' to 20' apart on that backup line and pointing perpendicularly to the line of travel (towards the passenger side), you can see the "line" you need to backup on. You need 2 points of reference to line up properly. Just watch the lights, and back up barely missing the lights. Good grief it's hard to convey what I want to.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:03 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by tinkerreknit View Post
2 way radios are great - my wife watches for anything I might get too close to. If you get out prior to backing up and look down the line your tires need to follow to end up where you should be, and then place 2 small flashlights on the ground (driver's side) 10' to 20' apart on that backup line and pointing perpendicularly to the line of travel (towards the passenger side), you can see the "line" you need to backup on. You need 2 points of reference to line up properly. Just watch the lights, and back up barely missing the lights. Good grief it's hard to convey what I want to.
Makes a lot of sense....I like the idea of lights to help backing-up.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:51 PM   #20
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The magnetic led lights on the bottom of the rear bumper on each side mark your corners real well.
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